The others who sprinted with him yesterday struggled today not to finish the deadline. Three-time world champion in cyclocross, winner of time trials, group sprints and specialist of spring classics, Wout van Aert tames Mont Ventoux and becomes a total cyclist. Belgian, like Eddy Merckx who triumphed here in 1970, with the colors of his country on the jersey shining amidst the heat and stones of Provence, was the unexpected protagonist of the eleventh stage of the Tour de France, going to take the finish line in Malaucéne, at the foot of the Bald Mountain, climbed for the first time in the same hamlet from two sides. The ‘Bald Mountain’ did not discount, leaving behind, at the first ascent, ranking people like Gaudu, sending the winner of Tignes, O’Connor, in trouble, who started second and finished off the podium, holding back the day’s ambitions of the world champion Alaphilippe, who started at the tenth kilometer but then bounced off the road and showed, a novelty, the human side of the Pogacar yellow jersey. The lunar environment of the last few kilometers of ascent brought the Slovenian phenomenon back to earth. In the end he picked up the young Dane Vingegaard, van Aert’s teammate on the attack towards the end of the second ascent, on the descent, but showed that he too can struggle and be detached. Together with Pogacar, 1’37 ” behind the winner, came the Colombian Uran and the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz, who ‘whipped’ his Ineos: he did not manage to make a difference, but he reached the goal to detach O’Connor. He is now fourth, behind Uran and Vingegaard. Between them and van Aert, in the order of the stage, two teammates of Nibali, Elissonde and Mollema, who ran away without being able to keep up with the Belgian. Van Aert, one meter and 87 for almost 80 kilos, yesterday finished second behind Cavendish in the sprint and this year he had won Gand Wegelvem and Amstel Gold Race, last year the Sanremo, and the Strade Bianche di Siena. He almost always went up seated, ‘time trial’ the worst mountain of the tour of France that crowned Pantani, Armstrong, Froome. This is how he responded, with a historic triumph, to the yellow jersey worn in recent days by his enemy-friend Van der Poel, an eclectic man like him and who, like him, does not aim for stage races, but is capable of making every race spectacular. sees a starter, overcoming the limits and breaking the patterns of cycling. “I lost my words: maybe it’s my best win ever. It proves that you always have to believe in it,” van Aert said at the end, who. he had started celebrating 2 km from the end.